- Chinese tech giant Huawei attacked The Wall Street Journal for a reporting detailing $75 billion of state aid which the outlet said underpinned its explosive growth.
- It said that loans, grants, tax breaks, and discounted land sales had put it in a stronger position than its rivals.
- In response, Huawei denied that state support for its work amounts to special or unfair treatment.
- It posted a long rebuttal accusing the Journal of using “false information” and a pattern of biased reporting, though it did not substantiate those allegations.
- Huawei has had a rocky 2019 which saw it blacklisted by the US government. Its CFO spent the whole year under house arrest. It maintained a dominant market position nonetheless.
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Huawei launched an angry attack on The Wall Street Journal the day after it published an article laying out what it said was $75 billion in state support from China which helped fuel its growth.
The article, published on December 25, ran under the headline “State Support Helped Fuel Huawei’s Global Rise.”
It gave figures for four different ways the Chinese state helped Huawei in its explosive growth to become the world’s largest telecoms equipment firm, manufacturing smartphones and vying to build 5G networks around the world.
Here are the numbers, based on the Journal’s research (which it described in a separate article):
- $46 billion in loans, lines of credit and other financing from state lenders
- $25 billion in tax breaks for tech companies
- $2 billion in discounts on land purchases
- $1.6 billion in grants
The total is $74.6 billion.
Huawei said in a statement that the Journal relied on “false information” for its reporting, and characterized it as part of a pattern of “disingenuous” reporting on the company.
—Huawei (@Huawei) December 26, 2019
Huawei did not specify the information it claimed to be false, or provide details to substantiate its claim of an ulterior motive behind the Journal’s work.
Business Insider has contacted Huawei to request more information.
Huawei’s status as one of the most visible Chinese companies, and its relationship with the Chinese government, has plagued its role on the world stage.
The company was in May 2019 placed on a US government blacklist, prohibiting most companies from doing business with it because of national security concerns.
The concerns are based on fears that Huawei could hand over network data to the Chinese government. The company has repeatedly denied that it would do that.
The US government has also sought to persuade allied governments from freezing Huawei out of any role developing 5G data networks.
On a more personal level, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, also the daughter of CEO Ren Zhengfei, has spent all of 2019 under house arrest in Canada, where she was detained in December 2018 at the request of US authorities.
Despite this, Huawei has maintained its dominant market position.
In its rebuttal of the Journal’s reporting, Huawei downplayed the significance of state support in its success.
It instead cited very large expenditure on research and development, which it said far outstrips its rivals.
While it did not deny receiving help from the Chinese state, Huawei said it got no “additional or special treatment” which other companies could not also have accessed.
Business Insider has also contacted Dow Jones, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, for comment.